News from the Tennessee Valley Columnists

Steve Stewart

Bus trouble along the gospel road

Randy Vest of Decatur introduced Palmetto State Quartet recently at St. Luke United Methodist Church, saying the group has one of gospel music’s richest heritages.

Speaking earlier to Melanie Smith, Randy praised the group’s new tenor, Wesley Smith of Hillsboro. Randy didn’t tell how he helped Wesley out of a jam, but Wesley did.

Wesley’s former local group, King’s IV, was returning from Florida and noticed a 30-foot stream of smoke trailing its bus. Wesley feared the 1980 Eagle had blown an engine.

He got Randy on the phone, and Randy drove to Troy to pick up the rest of the group while Wesley and the driver stayed with the bus.

The problem was a hole in a piston, and the cost was $3,200, including a 200-mile tow.

His fair lady

During tryouts at Fort Decatur Recreation Center for Decatur Civic Chorus’ “The Music Man,” Bobby Duling of Arab made director Betty Rocha, along with others involved in the casting, roll in laughter when he sang an original song.

Danielle Komis reports that the song expressed Bobby’s thanks to Betty for casting him four years ago in “My Fair Lady,” where he met his wife, Bonnye Fleming of Arab.

At your service

Maurice Gautreau of Flint is an avid camper, well-acquainted with those who run Decatur’s Point Mallard Park campground.

After waiting six hours to land one of the park’s 75 reserved sites for events like the Spirit of America Festival and Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic, Maurice joked with Scott Jones, who works with park maintenance, about the long wait and shortcomings in the park’s reservation policy.

The 20 or so remaining reservation seekers laughed as Scott took the ribbing, Chris Paschenko reports.

“Just wait until you need that extra picnic table or when the electricity goes out,” Scott said, smiling, gently reminding Maurice who keeps the camp’s amenities running.

Raindrops and Methodists

Eric Fleischauer says that just before pastor Mike Stonbraker let loose with his pre-communion prayer at Wesley Memorial United Methodist Church, the rain let loose louder, battering the aluminum roof.

Eyes toward the heavens, Mike said serenely, “For every raindrop that falls. ...”

The congregation should have known better than to expect a conclusion like “an angel watches over you” from Mike. “For every raindrop that falls,” he repeated, “seven Methodists stay home from church.”

Can’t escape this

Patrick the Escape Artist, aka Michael Patrick, really fooled the crowd when he did a back-flip on Halloween into the harbor from Key West, Fla.

He didn’t come up for air, and several audience members dived in. The Coast Guard, firefighters, police and conservation officers launched a search, finding him the next day at a house with his girlfriend, according to The Associated Press.

An unamused judge found Michael guilty of culpable negligence and ordered him to pay $60,000 restitution for the search.

Send stories for You Don’t Say to, or call Weekend Editor Steve Stewart at 340-2444. Or write P.O. Box 2213, Decatur, AL 35609. Daily staff members contribute many of the items you see here. This column appears Sundays and Wednesdays.

Steve Stewart Steve Stewart
DAILY Weekend Editor

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